What Are Low-Lying Cerebellar Tonsils?

Low-lying cerebellar tonsils that are not accompanied by other congenital brain malformations are classified as Chiari I malformations, as reported by UCLA Health. This malformation is a congenital disease and happens when the bottom part of the cerebellum dips down into the upper spinal cord, which is below the base of the skull. This can cause a blockage between the cerebrospinal fluid in the cranial compartment and the spinal compartment.

This disease typically happens when the storage holding the cerebellum is smaller than normal. If the low-lying cerebellar tonsils are accompanied by congenital disorders, then the patient is said to have Chiari II malformations.

Common symptoms associated with this disease include pain, particular in areas that are at the back of the head, weakness, numbness, loss of temperature sensation, double vision, slurred speech, unsteadiness, vomiting, trouble swallowing and tinnitus, which is a ringing sensation in the ears.

To diagnose low-lying cerebellar tonsils, most physicians will rely on a MRI scan, a MRI cerebrospinal fluid flow study or a CT-myelogram, which looks for cerebrospinal fluid leaks. If the condition is diagnosed, the objective of course of treatment that will be taken is to reconnect the cerebrospinal fluid flow between the cranial compartment and the spinal compartment.